Poe Work Sample D


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One of five stories or edited on July 6, 2011, for www.cascade.patch.com

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Poe Work Sample D

  1. 1. HYPERLINK "http://patch.com/A-jWwP" Three Schools Accused of Most "Severe" Cheating in Entire State are in Southwest Atlanta<br />Parks Middle School "led state" in classes flagged for cheating, followed closely by Peyton Forest Elementary and Gideons Elementary, report states. <br />By Janita Poe <br />Email the author<br />July 6, 2011 <br />  new   <br />Peyton Forest Elementary School on Peyton Road. Credit Jamie Cox <br />Photos (4) <br />Photos<br />Credit Janita Poe <br />Credit Janita Poe <br />Credit Jamie Cox <br />Credit Jamie Cox <br />The three schools cited as having more classes flagged for cheating on the 2009 CRCT are in southwest Atlanta, an initial Cascade Patch review of an investigators' report has found.<br />According to an extensive state investigators' report, published in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Parks Middle School, 1090 Windsor St., in the Pittsburgh community, led the state with 89.5% of classes at the school flagged for cheating on the state Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT).<br />Gideons Elementary, 897 Welch St., followed with 88.4% flagged and Peyton Forest Elementary School, 301 Peyton Rd., was third with 86.1%. The findings appear on page 22 of the 3-volume report by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.<br />Georgia public school students grades 1-8 are required to take the CRCT in English, reading and math. Students in grades 3-8 also take science and social studies tests.<br />The state investigated test-taking at 56 Atlanta Public Schools and found 44 had evidence of cheating. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has prepared an easy-to-use database for searching the status of individual schools. The schools are assigned one of the following:<br />Clear: 0%-5.4% of classrooms in this school flagged with wrong-to-right changes that fell above the state average.<br />Minimal Concern: 5.5%-10.4% of classrooms in this school flagged with wrong-to-right changes that fell above the state average.<br />Moderate Concern: 10.5%- 24.4% of classrooms in this school flagged with wrong-to-right changes that fell above the state average.<br />Severe Concern: 24.5% or more of classrooms in this school flagged with wrong-to-right changes that fell above the state average.<br />In a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal warned of "consequences" for teachers and administrators found guilty of unethical behavior. In a statement on the State of Georgia's Official website, Deal said he is "encouraged that this investigation will bring closure to the problems that existed in APS and restore the focus on students and the classroom."<br />“When test results are falsified and students who have not mastered the necessary material are promoted," Deal said, "our students are harmed, parents lose sight of their child’s true progress, and taxpayers are cheated."<br />According to www.georgia.gov, the state's investigation concludes that:<br />Thousands of children were harmed by the 2009 CRCT cheating by being denied remedial education because of their inflated CRCT scores.  <br />We found cheating in 44 of the 56 schools we examined (78.6%). There were 38 principals of those 56 schools (67.9%) found to be responsible for, or directly involved in, cheating.<br />We determined that 178 teachers and principals in the Atlanta Public Schools System cheated. Of the 178, 82 confessed to this misconduct. Six principals refused to answer our questions, and pled the Fifth Amendment, which, under civil law is an implied admission of wrongdoing. These principals, and 32 more, either were involved with, or should have known that, there was test cheating in their schools.<br />We empathize with those educators who felt they were pressured to cheat and commend those who were willing to tell us the truth regarding their misconduct. However, this report is not meant to excuse their ethical failings, or exonerate them from their wrongdoings.<br />The 2009 CRCT statistics are overwhelming and allow for no conclusion other than widespread cheating in APS. The BRC expert, Dr. John Fremer, wrote an op-ed article for the AJC in which he said there was widespread, organized cheating in APS.<br />The drop in 2010 CRCT erasures confirm the conclusion above.<br />Cheating occurred as early as 2001.<br />There were warnings of cheating on CRCT as early as December 2005/January 2006. The warnings were significant and clear and were ignored.<br />Cheating was caused by a number of factors but primarily by the pressure to meet targets in the data-driven environment.<br />There was a major failure of leadership throughout APS with regard to the ethical administration of the 2009 CRCT.<br />A culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation existed in APS, which created a conspiracy of silence and deniability with respect to standardized test misconduct.<br />In addition to the 2009 CRCT cheating, we found other improper conduct: several open record act violations; instances of false statements; and instances of document destruction.<br />Related Topics: APS cheating, Atlanta Public Schools, and CRCT <br />How does it make you feel to see the three schools with the most flags are all in southwest Atlanta? Tell us in the comments. <br />